Costly metal thefts continue to plague Ohio, but officials see improvement

Ohio no longer leads the nation in metal thefts, but the crime remains a vexing and oftentimes costly problem for property owners, including many people in the southwest Ohio region, according to a data from a report released today.

The number of metal theft insurance claims in Ohio fell 61 percent last year, according to claims submitted to the Insurance Services Office, reported by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The Buckeye State last year slipped from first to fourth in the nation for metal theft insurance claims.

No state had more metal theft insurance claims than Ohio between 2014 and 2016. During that time, property owners in the state submitted 3,060 claims.

RELATED: Ohio ranks 1st in U.S. for metal theft insurance claims

The Dayton area has been a hotbed of metal thievery, ranking 34 out of nearly 700 U.S. urban areas for insurance claims since 2014, the data show.

During that period, 177 claims have been filed by property owners in this region, which is more than many much bigger communities, including Memphis, Tenn. (170 claims), Charlotte, N.C. (163), Minneapolis, Minn. (151) and Milwaukee, Wis. (150).

New York-Newark-Jersey City ranked No. 1 in the nation (2,068 claims), Cleveland ranked 5th (662), Cincinnati was 7th (593) and Columbus was 9th (519).

Across the region, thieves have stolen copper piping, wiring and parts from churches, abandoned homes and structures, construction sites, cell phone towers and other unguarded properties, sometimes causing tens of thousands of dollars in losses and damages.

Properties that are already difficult to fix up can become extremely expensive to rehab if thieves strip away important systems and materials.

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